Wednesday, 4 May 2011
372 Rory McArdle
Position : Centre half (also played at right back)
Played : 2005-06 (on loan from Sheffield Wednesday) ; 2006-07 ( initially on loan from Sheffield Wednesday) to 2009-10
Appearances : (first spell) 19 ; (second spell) 129
Goals : (first spell) 1 ; (second spell) 4
Rory was a Northern Ireland youth international signed as cover for the centre half position until March.
He made his League debut in September 2005 when he came on at home to Mansfield after warming the bench from the second game onwards. From the end of October he was pretty much a regular in the side at the expense of Jon Boardman. In truth he wasn't that much better just that bit stronger and more dominant in the air. When they played together as in the infamous 3-0 defeat at Stockport in March the results were disastrous ; it's only a surprise we kept it down to three because a goal looked likely every time the ball crossed the halfway line. I think it's safe to say no one shed too many tears when the loan expired in March.
Rory started the next season with his debut for Wednesday at Plymouth but then had the misfortune to be in the side which crashed 1-4 at home to Wrexham in the League Cup. His next appearance was in the FA Cup for us in November back on loan as Parkin fought for his job. He played in the three straight defeats that finished Parkin and it was quite a surprise when Keith Hill made it one of his first priorities to sign Rory permanently.
All the players that survived Hilly's initial cull improved their game but Rory's transformation was astonishing. Overnight he became a sturdy centre half who could take on allcomers, commanding in the air and surprisingly agile on the ground. He was good in the opposing penalty box too and was sometimes thrown up front when we were chasing the game There was the odd mistake still as you'd expect from a teenager but the good now outweighed the bad.
After two impressive full seasons with us Rory had the misfortune to injure himself in a pre-season game at Radcliffe in 2009 . That let in a certain Craig Dawson and meant that Rory became a bit part player in our promotion season often having to play right back where he never looked comfortable.
In May 2010 he signed for Aberdeen. The timing of the move meant that we received nothing in compensation which drew an angry response from Keith Hill though it seemed more about the financial implications than the loss of the player. Rory made his full international debut against Chile a few days later. At the time of writing he has made 28 appearances for Aberdeen and scored twice.